Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Trip Report: Part 1

Einstein and Trains, two boys (6 and 3 respectively) wearing pajamas, rub their eyes sleepily as they walk into the kitchen. They visibly startle as they see Daddy, a disturbingly handsome man in his early forties, waiting for them. He’s holding a frying pan.
Daddy: Good morning, kids! How do you feel about pancakes?
Trains opens his mouth cheerfully, but stops as Einstein gestures to him.
Einstein: We don’t like pancakes.
Daddy is visibly deflated.
Daddy: Since when?
Einstein: Since a long time. If you’d have been around, you would know that.
Daddy: Sorry, Stein. I-
Trains: Don’t call him Stein! He hates that. His name is EIN-stein.
Daddy: Okay, okay, I forgot.
Einstein: You didn’t forget. You didn’t know. You don’t know anything about us any more. You just pack up and leave one day and then show up like nothing’s happened. Well a lot happened while you were gone. It was hard without you. Really hard! You can’t just waltz in here and expect you can make us pancakes and everything will be all better. I hate you!
Bursting into tears, Einstein runs from the kitchen. Trains, not quite understanding, makes an identical gesture of crying and runs off. Daddy stands dumbfounded.
Daddy: But it was only two nights.
-Excerpt from "Alone," my son’s autobiographical one-act play. Names have been changed to protect the drama queens.
Let’s start with the big reveal: I took off over a tornado, maybe two.

This is your captain speaking.  Nothing exciting is happening.
It started on the jetway. An alarm went off while we were walking into the plane and it took them several tries before they could shut it off. Once on the plane, the whole thing rocked side to side like a boat from the wind. When we got into the air, there was stronger turbulence than I could remember. The plane kept dropping, the children in the back kept squealing with delight, and the woman next to me grabbed the seat in front of her for dear life. It wasn’t until I landed and could turn my cell phone on, that my wife told me about the tornado warning and sightings.

Once again, nothing is wrong.  Please enjoy the beverage service.
Eventually, the plane stabilized and I decided to get to work. As I pulled out my laptop, the woman in front of me reclined her seat and the woman next to me (who was from Ghana) fell asleep leaning in my direction. Even leaning my seat back, I had so little room that I had to type by dangling my fingers over the keyboard like a puppeteer. I didn’t get much work done.

You know, without the Palmolive skin conditioning.
When we landed, I took a shuttle over to Hertz, which I picked in part because they had a discount deal with United, but mostly because of this old ad about how they were worth the extra expense. After an hour standing in line, I realized that advertising was not the same as reality. Who knew?

I drove past the Washington Monument to a small, 24 hour kabob restaurant in Arlington. It was a crazy, busy place with disturbingly hot chick peas. I squeezed into a table and read the end of Larry Niven’s “The Magic Goes Away” (research to make sure my own fantasy novel doesn’t come too close) while I ate, then grabbed food for my brother before picking him up at Reagan.

My novel will have less sex with 70-year old women.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. I met my family in the lobby of the hotel. Then I crashed.
They're only cute because they look like me.

Photo Gallery:
Trying to keep my belongings safe in the bathroom turned out to be a warning of the trip ahead of me.

Kabob Palace.  I promised this woman I'd delete the picture.

Why is my gate ALWAYS the farthest one away?

I seriously doubt anyone is going to steal your Pesos, lady.  You don't need to have a getaway planned.

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